After getting frustrated with all the unwanted ads in your browser, you install an ad blocker hoping to get an uninterrupted Internet browsing experience. However, when you open a website to read an article, you are greeted by a cookie consent pop-up that seeks permission to track you and promises to use the cookies to optimize your browsing experience. You’re in a hurry, so you accept the cookies without caring about the consequences, but the pop-up appears again on every new website you visit. If you find these cookie consent notifications annoying, learn how to prevent them from showing up.
- Why Do I Get Cookie Consent Pop-Ups?
- Cookie Consent Guidelines for Websites
- Should You Block All Cookies?
- How to Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Chrome
- Blocking Cookie Consent Pop-Ups on Microsoft Edge
- How to Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups on Firefox
- Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Safari (macOS)
- Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Safari (iPhone/iPad)
- An Alternative to Blocking All Cookies
- Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups With Browser Extensions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Get Cookie Consent Pop-Ups?
The intrusive nature of cookies, which track your movements on the Internet, raised privacy concerns. This led to the creation of a few laws and regulations, namely the ePrivacy Directive and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in 2018. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
Cookies were introduced in the 1990s by Lou Montulli, who pioneered elements like HTTP proxying. He coined the term “cookies,” which he used in Netscape. Soon after the advent of cookies, people started speaking up about the privacy concerns that accompanied this information.
The issue became so mainstream that the U.S. Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory Capability had to release a press statement that dismantled the threats people associated with cookies.
Cookie Consent Guidelines for Websites
According to the ePrivacy Directive (the EU Cookie Law) and GDPR, websites must:
- Not use trackers and cookies unless readers explicitly give consent to do so.
- Give detailed information about the trackers and cookies they deploy.
- Allow users to opt out as easily as they can opt in. (This is often abused by websites, which changes the colors of the accept and reject cookies to make it easier for users to accept cookies.)
The EU changed the ePrivacy Directive of the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) in January 2017. This move made it a law that all websites must abide. Violating this could lead to fines, as was seen with Google and Facebook at $169 million and $67 million, respectively.
to comply with these laws, almost every website now has a cookie consent pop-up, asking your permission to store your data.
Should You Block All Cookies?
Cookies store your data, track your online movements and save your passwords, so it follows that you should disable them all to fix the privacy problem. But, unfortunately, it’s not zx easy as that, zx cookies are helpful too.
Yes, it’s true that cookies store a lot of data, and sometimes, it might be much more than bargained for, such as the information Google knows about you.
However, cookies are an important part of the ecosystem that keeps the Internet free for you. Websites put up display ads or other types of ads that require some information about their readers to target the right audience with relevant ads and enable you to read articles online for free. It makes it important for websites and third-party ad networks to collect your data.
Secondly, cookies store your log-in sessions, which means if you completely disable cookies in your browser, you will have to log in to your account on each website every time you open it.
If you don’t care about the Internet’s economy and can also cope with logging in to websites repeatedly, you can disable all cookies to get rid of the pop-up consent notifications.
How to Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Chrome
- Click the three dots at the upper-right corner of Chrome and go to Settings.
- Head to “Privacy and security -> Cookies and other site data.”
- Select the “Block all cookies” radio button.
Blocking Cookie Consent Pop-Ups on Microsoft Edge
- Click the three dots in the upper-right corner and click on Settings.
- Navigate to “Cookies and site permissions.”
- Click on “Manage and delete cookies and site data.”
- Toggle off the “Allow sites to save and read cookie data” option.
How to Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups on Firefox
- Click on the three horizontal bars in the upper-right corner.
- Head to “Settings -> Privacy & Security.” Under “Enhanced Tracking Protection,” choose the “Strict” option.
Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Safari (macOS)
- Open Safari on your Mac and head to “Preferences.”
- Open “Privacy” settings.
- Select the checkbox for “Block all cookies.”
- In the confirmation pop-up you receive, click on “Block All.”
Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups in Safari (iPhone/iPad)
- Go to “Settings -> Safari -> Privacy & Security -> Block Cookies.”
- Tap on “Always Block.”
An Alternative to Blocking All Cookies
If you’re looking for complete anonymity, you can also go with a privacy-first browser like Tor, Brave or DuckDuckGo. These browsers follow the strictest protocols that prioritize the user’s privacy and do not track their activity on any website. For people who really care about privacy, it’s better to switch to these browsers entirely rather than just disabling cookies or using extensions.
Note: you’ll have to make some tweaks to speed up Tor, as it’s a somewhat slow browser.
Block Cookie Consent Pop-Ups With Browser Extensions
Instead of blocking all cookies and losing their benefits, you could go with a browser extension that fills out cookie consent pop-ups. Set your preferences for the cookies you want to allow, and the extension will only allow those. Do note that some extensions simply hide the pop-ups. If you aren’t concerned about privacy and just want to get rid of the pop-ups, these are great options:
- Consent-O-Matic (Chrome | Mozilla | Safari) works by automatically filling out cookie forms according to your preferences. You let the extension know your preferences – which cookies you want to accept or reject. This is perfect, as blocking all cookies isn’t recommended, and doing so can lead to some sites experiencing glitches.
- Consent Manager (Chrome | Mozilla) is another great extension for rejecting most cookies. The best thing about this extension is that it automatically flags and reports websites that do not comply with the EU Cookie Law. It also displays the number of cookies being served illegally on the icon.
- I Don’t Care About Cookies (Chrome | Mozilla) hides or blocks cookie pop-ups. It doesn’t accept or reject certain cookies according to your preferences. When cookies are needed for a website to work properly, the extension will automatically accept them. If you can’t figure out which cookies you should accept (and reject), this is a great option.
To install an extension in Chrome:
- Go to the Chrome Web Store.
- Search for your extension.
- Click on “Add to Chrome.”
- Choose “Add Extension” in the confirmation pop-up.
- You will get a pop-up notification when the extension is added to your browser.
For other browsers, such as Microsoft Edge and Firefox, head to their respective web stores. Once you’ve found the extension, the steps to install it are almost the same across all browsers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I block cookies from a certain website?
How do I delete previous cookies?
To delete previous cookies, clear your browsing history selectively via your browser’s history. (Pressing Ctrl + H opens the browsing history in all browsers.) Before you confirm the history has been deleted, untick the “Browsing History” section and only tick the cookies and cache section.
Are extensions that block cookie pop-ups safe?
They are completely safe as long as you download them from your browser’s official extension store. Also, instead of trying out new extensions (with only a few hundred users), we recommend that you stick to the well-known ones.
What happens if I ignore a cookie consent pop-up?
A website should assume that you are not accepting cookies by ignoring the pop-up. However, some websites have a “silent consent” policy that assumes you’re accepting cookies by not rejecting them. This is mostly the case with small websites and is against the EU Cookie Law and the GDPR.
Image credit: Caio via Pexels
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